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5 Ways Inflation Could Reshape Annuities

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In the 1970s, U.S. consumer prices headed up like an Apollo rocket.

Ordinary people bought mood rings that changed color when they were happy, earth shoes that put their toes higher than their heels, and commodities futures.

Butchers, bankers, tailors and candlestick makers experimented with gold futures, wheat futures and even the much-ridiculed pork belly futures.

Few investors then knew much more about pork belly futures than current investors know about cryptocurrency, but buying pork belly futures — financial instruments with prices that fluctuated along with the supply of food — was a popular way to tie portfolios to something that looked as if it could help protect an investor against inflation.

Life insurers, meanwhile, had to fight to keep annuity assets from gushing into banks’ certificates of deposit.

For a look at five ways that U.S. individual annuity features could change now, if inflation goes up and stays up, see the gallery above.